The European Reformation

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Other Protestant reformers arose independently from Luther almost immediately throughout Germany.

Martin Luther and the 95 Theses

The pace of the Reformation proved unstoppable already by Reformational ideas and Protestant church services were first introduced in cities, being supported by local citizens and also some nobles. The Reformation did not receive state support until It was more of a movement among the German people between and , and then also a political one beginning in The first state to formally adopt a Protestant confession was the Duchy of Prussia Albert, Duke of Prussia formally declared Lutheranism to be the state religion.

Ducal Prussia was followed by many imperial free cities and other minor imperial entities. The reformational wave swept first the Holy Roman Empire , and then extended beyond it to the rest of the European continent. Germany was home to the greatest number of Protestant reformers that developed the Reformation. Nearly each state that turned Protestant had their own reformers responsible for the implementation of the renewed faith and the foundation of churches. Martin Luther pioneered these activities in Electoral Saxony , where under his own supervision, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Saxony was organized and served as an example for other states.

The Reformation also spread widely throughout Europe, starting with Bohemia, in the Czech lands, and, over the next few decades, to other countries. Austria followed the same pattern of the German-speaking states within the Holy Roman Empire , and Lutheranism became the main Protestant confession among its population. Lutheranism gained a significant following in Austria which was concentrated in the eastern half of present-day Austria, while Calvinism was less successful.

Eventually the adoption of the Counter-Reformation reversed the trend. Czech reformer and university professor Jan Hus c. Jan Hus was declared heretic and executed — burned at stake — at the Council of Constance in where he arrived voluntarily to defend his teachings.

This predominantly religious movement was propelled by social issues and strengthened Czech national awareness. In , two years after the execution of Jan Hus, the Czech reformation quickly became the chief force in the country. Hussites made up the vast majority of the population, forcing the Council of Basel to recognize in a system of two "religions" for the first time signing the Compacts of Basel for the kingdom Catholic and Czech Ultraquism , a Hussite movement. After Habsburgs took control of the region, the Hussite churches were prohibited and the kingdom partially recatholicized.

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Even later Lutheranism gained a substantial following, after being permitted by the Habsburgs with the continued persecution of the Czech native Hussite churches. Many Hussites thus declared themselves Lutherans. Two churches with Hussite roots are now second and third biggest churches in the predominantly agnostic country: Czech Brethren which gave origin to the international church known as the Moravian Church and Czechoslovak Hussite Church.

In Switzerland, the teachings of the reformers and especially those of Zwingli and Calvin had a profound effect, despite the frequent quarrels between the different branches of the Reformation. Parallel to events in Germany, a movement began in the Swiss Confederation under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli. Zwingli was a scholar and preacher who moved to Zurich — the then-leading city state — in , a year after Martin Luther began the Reformation in Germany with his Ninety-five Theses.

Although the two movements agreed on many issues of theology, as the recently introduced printing press spread ideas rapidly from place to place, some unresolved differences kept them separate. Long-standing resentment between the German states and the Swiss Confederation led to heated debate over how much Zwingli owed his ideas to Lutheranism. Although Zwinglianism does hold uncanny resemblance to Lutheranism it even had its own equivalent of the Ninety-five Theses, called the 67 Conclusions , historians have been unable to prove that Zwingli had any contact with Luther's publications before , and Zwingli himself maintained that he had prevented himself from reading them.

The German Prince Philip of Hesse saw potential in creating an alliance between Zwingli and Luther, seeing strength in a united Protestant front. A meeting was held in his castle in , now known as the Colloquy of Marburg , which has become infamous for its complete failure. The two men could not come to any agreement due to their disputation over one key doctrine. Although Luther preached consubstantiation in the Eucharist over transubstantiation , he believed in the real presence of Christ at the Mass. Zwingli, inspired by Dutch theologian Cornelius Hoen , believed that the mass was only representative and memorial — Christ was not present.

Zwingli countered this saying that est in that context was the equivalent of the word significant signifies. Some followers of Zwingli believed that the Reformation was too conservative and moved independently toward more radical positions, some of which survive among modern day Anabaptists. One famous incident illustrating this was when radical Zwinglians fried and ate sausages during Lent in Zurich city square by way of protest against the Church teaching of good works.

The Protestant Reformation

Other Protestant movements grew up along the lines of mysticism or humanism cf. Erasmus , sometimes breaking from Rome or from the Protestants, or forming outside of the churches. Following the excommunication of Luther and condemnation of the Reformation by the Pope, the work and writings of John Calvin were influential in establishing a loose consensus among various groups in Switzerland, Scotland , Hungary, Germany and elsewhere. After the expulsion of its Bishop in , and the unsuccessful attempts of the Berne reformer Guillaume William Farel , Calvin was asked to use the organisational skill he had gathered as a student of law to discipline the "fallen city" of Geneva.

His "Ordinances" of involved a collaboration of Church affairs with the City council and consistory to bring morality to all areas of life.


After the establishment of the Geneva academy in , Geneva became the unofficial capital of the Protestant movement, providing refuge for Protestant exiles from all over Europe and educating them as Calvinist missionaries. These missionaries dispersed Calvinism widely, and formed the French Huguenots in Calvin's own lifetime, as well as causing the conversion of Scotland under the leadership of the cantankerous John Knox in The faith continued to spread after Calvin's death in and reached as far as Constantinople by the start of the 17th century. The Reformation foundations engaged with Augustinianism.

Both Luther and Calvin thought along lines linked with the theological teachings of Augustine of Hippo. The Augustinianism of the Reformers struggled against Pelagianism , a heresy that they perceived in the Catholic Church of their day.

Reformation: Definition and History | - HISTORY

Ultimately, since Calvin and Luther disagreed strongly on certain matters of theology such as double-predestination and Holy Communion , the relationship between Lutherans and Calvinists was one of conflict. All of Scandinavia ultimately adopted Lutheranism over the course of the 16th century, as the monarchs of Denmark who also ruled Norway and Iceland and Sweden who also ruled Finland converted to that faith.

In Sweden, the Reformation was spearheaded by Gustav Vasa , elected king in Friction with the pope over the latter's interference in Swedish ecclesiastical affairs led to the discontinuance of any official connection between Sweden and the papacy from The king was given possession of all church property, church appointments required royal approval, the clergy were subject to the civil law, and the "pure Word of God" was to be preached in the churches and taught in the schools — effectively granting official sanction to Lutheran ideas.

The Protestant Reformation explained (explainity® explainer video)

Under the reign of Frederick I —33 , Denmark remained officially Catholic. But though Frederick initially pledged to persecute Lutherans, he soon adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers, of whom the most famous was Hans Tausen. During his reign, Lutheranism made significant inroads among the Danish population.

Frederick's son, Christian, was openly Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his father's death. In , the authority of the Catholic bishops was terminated by national assembly. The next year, following his victory in the Count's War , he became king as Christian III and continued the Reformation of the state church with assistance of Johannes Bugenhagen.

Luther 's influence had already reached Iceland before King Christian's decree. The Germans fished near Iceland's coast, and the Hanseatic League engaged in commerce with the Icelanders. Through German trade connections, many young Icelanders studied in Hamburg. The separation of the Church of England from Rome under Henry VIII , beginning in and completed in , brought England alongside this broad Reformation movement; however, religious changes in the English national church proceeded more conservatively than elsewhere in Europe.

Reformers in the Church of England alternated, for decades, between sympathies for ancient Catholic tradition and more Reformed principles, gradually developing, within the context of robustly Protestant doctrine, a tradition considered a middle way via media between the Catholic and Protestant traditions. The English Reformation followed a different course from the Reformation in continental Europe. There had long been a strong strain of anti-clericalism.

England had already given rise to the Lollard movement of John Wycliffe , which played an important part in inspiring the Hussites in Bohemia. Lollardy was suppressed and became an underground movement, so the extent of its influence in the s is difficult to assess. The different character of the English Reformation came rather from the fact that it was driven initially by the political necessities of Henry VIII. Henry had once been a sincere Catholic and had even authored a book strongly criticising Luther.

His wife, Catherine of Aragon , bore him only a single child that survived infancy, Mary. Henry strongly wanted a male heir, and many of his subjects might have agreed, if only because they wanted to avoid another dynastic conflict like the Wars of the Roses. King Henry decided to remove the Church of England from the authority of Rome. The veneration of some saints , certain pilgrimages and some pilgrim shrines were also attacked.

Huge amounts of church land and property passed into the hands of the Crown and ultimately into those of the nobility and gentry. The vested interest thus created made for a powerful force in support of the dissolutions. There were some notable opponents to the Henrician Reformation, such as Thomas More and Cardinal John Fisher , who were executed for their opposition.

There was also a growing party of reformers who were imbued with the Calvinistic, Lutheran and Zwinglian doctrines now current on the Continent. When Henry died he was succeeded by his Protestant son Edward VI , who, through his empowered councillors with the King being only nine years old at his succession and fifteen at his death the Duke of Somerset and the Duke of Northumberland, ordered the destruction of images in churches, and the closing of the chantries.

Yet, at a popular level, religion in England was still in a state of flux. Following a brief Catholic restoration during the reign of Mary — , a loose consensus developed during the reign of Elizabeth I , though this point is one of considerable debate among historians. This " Elizabethan Religious Settlement " largely formed Anglicanism into a distinctive church tradition.

The compromise was uneasy and was capable of veering between extreme Calvinism on one hand and Catholicism on the other. But compared to the bloody and chaotic state of affairs in contemporary France, it was relatively successful, in part because Queen Elizabeth lived so long, until the Puritan Revolution or English Civil War in the 17th century. The success of the Counter-Reformation on the Continent and the growth of a Puritan party dedicated to further Protestant reform polarised the Elizabethan Age , although it was not until the s that England underwent religious strife comparable to what its neighbours had suffered some generations before.

The early Puritan movement late 16th—17th centuries was Reformed or Calvinist and was a movement for reform in the Church of England. Its origins lay in the discontent with the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. The desire was for the Church of England to resemble more closely the Protestant churches of Europe, especially Geneva. The Puritans objected to ornaments and ritual in the churches as idolatrous vestments, surplices, organs, genuflection , which they castigated as " popish pomp and rags".

They also objected to ecclesiastical courts. Their refusal to endorse completely all of the ritual directions and formulas of the Book of Common Prayer and the imposition of its liturgical order by legal force and inspection sharpened Puritanism into a definite opposition movement. The later Puritan movement, often referred to as dissenters and nonconformists , eventually led to the formation of various reformed denominations.

The most famous emigration to America was the migration of Puritan separatists from the Anglican Church of England. They fled first to Holland, and then later to America to establish the English colony of Massachusetts in New England, which later became one of the original United States. These Puritan separatists were also known as "the Pilgrims ". After establishing a colony at Plymouth which became part of the colony of Massachusetts in , the Puritan pilgrims received a charter from the King of England that legitimised their colony, allowing them to do trade and commerce with merchants in England, in accordance with the principles of mercantilism.

The Puritans persecuted those of other religious faiths. Executions ceased in when King Charles II explicitly forbade Massachusetts from executing anyone for professing Quakerism. The Pilgrims held radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas , and its celebration was outlawed in Boston from to In , the Bishop of Llandaff published the entire Bible in the Welsh language. The translation had a significant impact upon the Welsh population and helped to firmly establish Protestantism among the Welsh people.

Calvinism developed through the Puritan period, following the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II, and within Wales' Calvinistic Methodist movement. However few copies of Calvin's writings were available before midth century. The Reformation in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the establishment of a church along reformed lines, and politically in the triumph of English influence over that of France. John Knox is regarded as the leader of the Scottish reformation. The Reformation Parliament of repudiated the pope's authority by the Papal Jurisdiction Act , forbade the celebration of the Mass and approved a Protestant Confession of Faith.

It was made possible by a revolution against French hegemony under the regime of the regent Mary of Guise , who had governed Scotland in the name of her absent daughter Mary, Queen of Scots then also Queen of France.

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Although Protestantism triumphed relatively easily in Scotland, the exact form of Protestantism remained to be determined. The 17th century saw a complex struggle between Presbyterianism particularly the Covenanters and Episcopalianism. The Presbyterians eventually won control of the Church of Scotland , which went on to have an important influence on Presbyterian churches worldwide, but Scotland retained a relatively large Episcopalian minority. Protestantism also spread from the German lands into France, where the Protestants were nicknamed Huguenots ; this eventually led to decades of civil warfare.

Though not personally interested in religious reform, Francis I reigned — initially maintained an attitude of tolerance, in accordance with his interest in the humanist movement. This changed in with the Affair of the Placards. In this act, Protestants denounced the Catholic Mass in placards that appeared across France, even reaching the royal apartments. The issue of religious faith having been thrown into the arena of politics, Francis came to view the movement as a threat to the kingdom's stability.

This led to the first major phase of anti-Protestant persecution in France, in which the Chambre Ardente "Burning Chamber" was established within the Parlement of Paris to deal with the rise in prosecutions for heresy. Several thousand French Protestants fled the country, most notably John Calvin , who emigrated to Basel in before eventually settling in Geneva in Calvin continued to take an interest in the religious affairs of his native land and, from his base in Geneva, beyond the reach of the French kings, regularly trained pastors to lead congregations in France.

Despite heavy persecution by King Henry II of France reigned — , the Reformed Church of France , largely Calvinist in direction, made steady progress across large sections of the nation, in the urban bourgeoisie and parts of the aristocracy , appealing to people alienated by the obduracy and the complacency of the Catholic establishment. French Protestantism, though its appeal increased under persecution, came to acquire a distinctly political character, made all the more obvious by the conversions of nobles during the s. This established the preconditions for a series of destructive and intermittent conflicts, known as the Wars of Religion.

The civil wars gained impetus with the sudden death of Henry II in , which began a prolonged period of weakness for the French crown. Atrocity and outrage became the defining characteristics of the time, illustrated at their most intense in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of August , when the Catholic party annihilated between 30, and , Huguenots across France. The wars only concluded when Henry IV , himself a former Huguenot, issued the Edict of Nantes , promising official toleration of the Protestant minority, but under highly restricted conditions.

Catholicism remained the official state religion, and the fortunes of French Protestants gradually declined over the next century, culminating in Louis XIV's Edict of Fontainebleau , which revoked the Edict of Nantes and made Catholicism the sole legal religion of France. In response to the Edict of Fontainebleau, Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg declared the Edict of Potsdam October , giving free passage to Huguenot refugees and tax-free status to them for ten years. In the late 17th century many Huguenots fled to England, the Netherlands, Prussia, Switzerland, and the English and Dutch overseas colonies.

A separate Protestant community, of the Lutheran faith, existed in the newly conquered — province of Alsace , its status not affected by the Edict of Fontainebleau. In the early 16th century, Spain had a different political and cultural milieu from its Western and Central European neighbors in several respects, which affected the mentality and the reaction of the nation towards the Reformation.

Spain, which had only recently managed to complete the reconquest of the Peninsula from the Moors in , had been preoccupied with converting the Muslim and Jewish population of the newly conquered regions through the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition in The rulers of the nation stressed political, cultural, and religious unity, and by the time of the Lutheran Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition was already 40 years old and had the capability of quickly dealing with any new movement that the Catholic Church perceived or interpreted to be religious heterodoxy.

This led to a Counter-Reformation in Spain in the s. During the s, the Spanish Inquisition had created an atmosphere of suspicion and sought to root out any religious thought seen as suspicious. As early as , the Pope had written a letter to the Spanish monarchy warning against allowing the unrest in Northern Europe to be replicated in Spain. Between and , printing presses in Spain were tightly controlled and any books of Protestant teaching were prohibited. Between and , Protestantism in Spain was still able to gain followers clandestinely, and in cities such as Seville and Valladolid adherents would secretly meet at private houses to pray and study the Bible.

Notable reformers included Dr. Under Philip II , conservatives in the Spanish church tightened their grip, and those who refused to recant such as Rodrigo de Valer were condemned to life imprisonment. In May , sixteen Spanish Lutherans were burnt at the stake: In October another thirty were executed. Spanish Protestants who were able to flee the country were to be found in at least a dozen cities in Europe, such as Geneva , where some of them embraced Calvinist teachings.

Those who fled to England were given support by the Church of England. Upon the arrival of the Protestant Reformation, Calvinism reached some Basques through the translation of the Bible into the Basque language by Joanes Leizarraga. The Reformation did not succeed in Portugal, as its spread was frustrated for similar reasons to those in Spain.

The Reformation in the Netherlands, unlike in many other countries, was not initiated by the rulers of the Seventeen Provinces , but instead by multiple popular movements, which in turn were bolstered by the arrival of Protestant refugees from other parts of the continent.

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While the Anabaptist movement enjoyed popularity in the region in the early decades of the Reformation, Calvinism, in the form of the Dutch Reformed Church , became the dominant Protestant faith in the country from the s onward. In the early 17th century internal theological conflict within the Calvinist church between two tendencies of Calvinism, the Gomarists and the liberal Arminians or Remonstrants , resulted in Gomarist Calvinism becoming the de facto state religion.

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime. The sixteenth-century Reformation remains a fascinating andexciting area of study. The revised edition of this distinguishedvolume explores the intellectual origins of the Reformation andexamines the importance of ideas in the shaping of history.

Provides an updated and expanded version of the original,highly-acclaimed edition. Explores the complex intellectual roots of the Reformation,offering a sustained engagement with the ideas of humanism andscholasticism. Demonstrates how the intellectual origins of the Reformationwere heterogeneous, and examines the implications of this for ourunderstanding of the Reformation as a whole. Offers a defence of the entire enterprise of intellectualhistory, and a reaffirmation of the importance of ideas to thedevelopment of history.

Written by Alister E. Read more Read less. Add both to Cart Add both to List. Buy the selected items together This item: Ships from and sold by Amazon. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The Age of Reform, The Story of Christianity, Vol. The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Third Edition. Renaissance Thought and its Sources. Sponsored products related to this item What's this?

Do you love Christian books? Love's Journey in Sugarcreek: Love Rekindled Book 3. Life Lessons from Imperfec Review "A significant study for those with a serious interest in Reformation thought. Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition October 10, Language: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now.

Please try again later. While this book is written at a scholarly level it remains approachable by the student of history. A primer is necessary for one not familiar with the general terms, people, and movements of the Late Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation periods of history.

In this relatively concise work McGrath forcefully argues that the Reformation must not be viewed as a movement with a single, coherent cause. Instead, he posits, a series of local reforms took place all throughout Europe, each with their own literary and historical contexts to be examined and understood. The details of the development and spread of what would become Lutheranism are outside the confines of U. Support came from sincere religious reformers, while others manipulated the movement to gain control of valuable church property.

Not surprisingly, a Counter-Reformation developed to combat the new reforms and bolster the doctrine and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. For a time England, too, remained loyal to Rome. The term Protestant was not initially applied to the reformers, but later was used to describe all groups protesting Roman Catholic orthodoxy.

Lutheranism would have some impact on the development of American history, but far more important were the efforts of the reformers of the reform movement. Ideas set forth by John Calvin , a French theologian living in Geneva, were particularly influential. The Puritans , Huguenots and Presbyterians played prominently in the settlement of America and in the molding of colonial beliefs and values. In Anti-intellectualism in American Life, Hofstadter delineates the social movements that altered the role of intellect in American society from a vir Religious life in early America is often equated with the fire-and-brimstone Puritanism best embodied by the theology of Cotton Mather.

The European Reformation The European Reformation
The European Reformation The European Reformation
The European Reformation The European Reformation
The European Reformation The European Reformation
The European Reformation The European Reformation

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